Sussex Police launches survey on crime against women and girls

Sussex Police has launched a survey seeking the views of people across the county on the experience of women and girls as victims of harassment and sexual and violent crime.

Nov 26, 2021
By Tony Thompson
Katy Bourne

The online survey launched yesterday (November 25) to coincide with annual White Ribbon Day and the start of a global 16 days of activity against gender-based violence.

Detective Chief Superintendent Steve Rayland, head of the force’s Public Protection Command, said: “We have chosen this important day to reach out and seek the experiences of everyone, particularly women and girls, to help us do better to prevent and detect such crimes and keep everyone safe.

“We know that crimes including harassment and sexual offences are under-reported and this anonymous survey will provide an up-to-date snapshot that improves our understanding of why, and how best, the police and other agencies in Sussex can provide support, keep people safe and target perpetrators

“We already have comprehensive plans in place to tackle violence against women and girls in Sussex and we enjoy really strong partnerships with local authorities, victim services, and charities, working together to seek to address the root causes of gender inequality.

“But it is clear that in the police service we must do more, and must consider doing some things differently. This survey will give us a valuable steer on experiences that people have had and how we can adapt our work to respond more effectively.”

The survey seeks to understand people’s preferred reporting mechanisms, to gauge levels of under-reporting around particular crime types, to raise awareness of reporting mechanisms and of the different support services available:

Questions in the survey seek experiences of harassment or violence, whether reported or not, whether the respondent would report a future incident to the police, if not how and to who else they would report it.

Issues covered include rape and serious sexual assault, stalking, voyeurism, unwanted sexual touching, upskirting, indecent exposure and street harassment.

While the survey focuses on incidents that have taken place in public, there is also an opportunity to share experiences of behaviour experienced online and in the home.

It follows news that Sussex police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne, has this month been awarded £300,000 from the Safety of Women at Night Fund.

The money will be used to fund extra police patrols at night time, with branded vehicles, aimed at deterring violence and providing a clear contact point for women and girls at risk. Training will also be provided to night-time economy businesses on how they can help to reduce risk and create safe spaces for women. This funding is in addition to just under £1million which was recently secured from the Safer Streets Fund.

Ms Bourne said: “I know from my own surveys and regular correspondence with members of the public that they want to see more being done to help women and girls in our county to feel safe.

“Having recently secured £1.3 million from the Safer Streets Fund and the Safety of Women at Night Fund, we will be using this to fund extra police patrols at night-time, provide training to night-time economy businesses and teach secondary school children about healthy relationships.

“I will also soon be launching our Do the Right Thing campaign which will help men to recognise misogyny and sexual harassment and encourage them to call out these behaviours whenever they see them.”

The survey can be found here. Results will be published but all responses are anonymous.


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